"How Much Time Should I Spend Studying on My Own"

I'm asked this question every so often.  When I was a student, I followed a general rule when it came to studying for a class.  For every hour I spent in class, I spent two hours studying or doing homework on my own.  I probably ended up spending more time than that for some classes but 2 hours to every 1 hour of class was my minimum.
Does every student follow this general rule?  Absolutely not!  Which is partly of the reason that keeps me busy as a tutor.  I have had students come to me, sit through a lesson, understand part of what they didn't understand before, then close their book when the lesson is over.  Other than sitting through the class lecture, when do you suppose they opened the book again?  The day I showed up for the next lesson.  Do you think that student succeeded on his upcoming exam?  Most likely, not.  
The plain and simple truth that students must understand is that tutor lessons are not the answer to all of your subject problems.  If it were, then universities would convert to one to one lessons and not hold classes.  Could you imagine how expensive college tuition would be if that happened?  In addition to class lecture and tutor sessions, the human brain requires that we practice a task - hands on - before we can master it or at least understand it well enough to accurately accomplish that task.  Like they say " Practice makes perfect."
To a student that's simply incapable of performing the 2 to 1 study time to class time method, I urge them to put in one extra hour of study time to every hour we spend during a tutoring lesson.  This will give them the extra time they need to reinforce their knowledge of the topic we just went over.  This is also important because a student needs to prepare for a tutoring lesson just as much as the tutor does.  Tutor lesson time is valuable to both the student and the tutor.  If you are not getting the most out of the lesson, you are throwing your money away.  It's always best to know where exactly you're having trouble in the class.  Make an attempt to solve the problem and when you get stuck, show your tutor where you've left off.  It will make for a more productive lesson and you will have gotten more knowledge from it.  
After the lesson, when all of the roadblocks are removed, perform a similar question to test what you learned.  After all, practice makes perfect. 


Michael K.

Effective Physics, Comp Sci, Math Tutor for HS, College, Higher Ed.

800+ hours
if (isMyPost) { }